Palak Paneer (Spinach and Cottage Cheese)

28 Jan

I would rather post more non-vegetarian recipes than the vegetarian ones, however, one of my new year resolutions include eating more veggies! I don’t hate vegetables but I just get bored of the process of sorting, plucking, washing, chopping, and every vegetable is different, some require boiling, some soaking, some grinding, unlike meat, cut, wash and ready to use. Among my favorite ones, spinach(Palak), fenugreek leaves (Methi), hard cottage cheese (Paneer), and dill(Shepu; unfortunately the men in my house dislike)but I end up making spinach or use it in some other dish. So, let me zoom in on one of my favorite Indian vegetarian recipes, that is Palak Paneer. It depends if you want to fry the Paneer(cottage cheese pieces) first or just dunk and cook them in the sauce in the last few minutes.

Tip: To keep the color of spinach intact, boil water, once your washing, sorting of spinach is done, drop in the entire spinach to wilt in the water for just about 2-3 minutes, do not cover. Remove or strain and immediately dunk in ice-cold water. Let it sit for a few minutes and then puree it roughly not smoothly in a blender.

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All you need:

  1. 1 large fresh Spinach bunch roughly pureed (washed, sorted-only use leaves)
  2. 200 gms or about 8 oz.Paneer (Hard cottage cheese found in Indian stores) cut into squares or rectangles.
  3. 2 medium size onions finely chopped or fine paste ( I prefer chopped)
  4. 2 medium size tomatoes finely chopped or pureed (I prefer chopped)
  5. 1 tbsp ginger garlic paste
  6. 2-3 green chilies finely chopped (adjust as per your taste)
  7. 1 tsp cumin seeds
  8. 1 bayleaf
  9. 4 cloves
  10. 1 inch stick of cinnamon
  11. pinch of turmeric
  12. 1 tsp cumin powder
  13. 1 tbsp coriander powder
  14. 1 tsp red chili powder
  15. 1 tsp garam masala(I use home-made, will post the combination soon)
  16. 1 tsp dried fenugreek leaves (kasoori methi) – this is optional
  17. salt (as required)
  18. oil 2 tbsps
  19. 1 tbsp roughly chopped cilantro(garnishing)
  20. 1 tbsp beaten cream (optional)

Ready, Set, Go:

  1. Heat oil on a low flame in a deep saucepan(kadhai). (If you wish you can fry the paneer pieces on medium heat until golden at this point and keep them aside and use the remaining oil)
  2. Add all the dry masala(bayleaf, cumin seeds, cloves and cinnamon) one by one. Saute for a few seconds until you can smell a nice aroma.
  3. Add chopped onions and saute until translucent. Add the ginger garlic paste and fry for about a minute or till the raw smell goes away.
  4. Add the green chilies, saute for another minute. Add the tomatoes and saute until they are soft.
  5. Add all the powdered masala except garam masala (turmeric, cumin, coriander, chili) and let this cook for about 4-5 minutes stirring occasionally  or until oil oozes out from the sides.
  6. Add the pureed spinach and mix it until well blended with the spices. Cook this until the sauce is bubbly and oozing out oil for another 3-5 minutes.
  7. Drop in the raw paneer pieces and gently stir them until everything is well combined and cook this for 4-5 minutes. Add salt.
  8. Add the garam masala and stir gently. Let this simmer for 3-5 minutes.
  9. Crush the dried fenugreek leaves between the palms of your hand and add them to the sauce(remember the fenugreek is optional, skip this step if you don’t have it)
  10. Turn off the heat and let the sauce sit for 2-3 minutes. Just before you serve it hot, add the cilantro and cream. Mix gently, Done! Serve hot with roti or naan.

https://mefoodatarian.wordpress.com/

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